Maine CDC Press Release

April 9, 2019

Maine CDC Notified of Influenza-Associated Pediatric Death

AUGUSTA –Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) received notification on Monday April 8, 2019 of an influenza-associated pediatric death. The child, a resident of Washington County, was unvaccinated and tested positive for influenza A. This is the first influenza-associated pediatric death in Maine during the 2018-19 influenza season.

Influenza causes a fever (≥100°F) and a cough or sore throat. Most people with influenza have mild illness. However, certain people are at high risk for more serious illness including young children, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions.

Influenza can be treated with antiviral medication. Antiviral treatment works best when started within two days of getting sick. However, starting treatment later can still be helpful, especially for people at high risk for serious influenza illness. Contact your doctor if you or your child are at high risk of serious illness and develop influenza symptoms.

Seek immediate medical care if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty or changes in breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Chest pain
  • Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
  • Not alert or interacting when awake
  • Seizures
  • Fever above 104°F
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

"Our hearts go out to the family and community affected by this tragedy," said Acting Maine CDC Director Nancy Beardsley. "Maine CDC wants to ensure that Mainers know the steps they can take to protect themselves and their loved ones, starting with vaccination. Influenza vaccine is still widely available, and it is not too late to get vaccinated."

Maine CDC recommends following the "No Flu 4 You" guidelines, which include:

  • Wash your hands: Both the public and healthcare providers should remember to wash their hands frequently to prevent transmission of influenza.
  • Cover your cough: Use tissues, or cough into your sleeve.
  • Stay home when you are sick: Symptomatic individuals should remain home until 24 hours after fever resolves without the use of medications.
  • Get Vaccinated: It is not too late to get vaccinated. Maine CDC recommends vaccination for everyone ages 6 months and older, especially those at high risk of serious influenza complications. Influenza vaccine is provided at no cost by the state of Maine for all children under the age of 19 years.

Influenza-associated pediatric deaths are reportable in Maine. An influenza-associated death is when a person has symptoms with a positive influenza test and dies before recovering. Prior to this report, the last influenza-associated pediatric death in Maine occurred in March 2016.

For more information:

For questions about vaccination, please contact the Maine Immunization Program at 800-867-4775, or throughimmunizeme@maine.gov. If you have additional questions or need to report an influenza-associated pediatric death, please call Maine CDC's 24-hour Disease Reporting Hotline at 1-800-821-5821.